Cognition and depression in cerebellar and frontal lobe stroke patients
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Contrary to prior beliefs, various case studies have shown that the cerebellum is involved in higher order cognitive functions, and the cerebrocerebellar circuitry has been implicated in subserving such functions. Specifically, cerebellar lesions are associated with a constellation of deficits termed the cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome (Schmahmann & Sherman, 1998). The purpose of the current study was to 1) compare the cognitive profile of patients with frontal lobe (N = 28) versus cerebellar (N = 31) strokes, 2) examine the effects of depression on cognition, and 3) to understand how structural and emotional factors relate to cognitive functioning. Results are consistent with previous findings of impaired executive functioning, verbal fluency, and spatial organization in patients with cerebellar strokes, which is also similar to the impairments found in patients with frontal lobe strokes. Patients with frontal lobe strokes exhibited a larger magnitude of impairment on select tests. Overall, the presence of major depressive disorder alone did not affect performance on neuropsychological measures. Laterality and stroke volume did not significantly account for performance on neuropsychological tests.